Maylin Tu

Image courtesy of Lime

The first Lime electric scooters hit the streets of Los Angeles in June 2018, some nine months after rival e-scooter startup Bird first took flight in Santa Monica. In the years since, Lime has battled Bird and a wave of other micromobility operators for market dominance—seeking to transform the urban transportation landscape while facing losses, regulatory backlash and even destructive anti-scooter sentiment.

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Image courtesy of Wheels

When Los Angeles launched its micromobility pilot in 2019, it had big dreams for improving transportation equity for all Angelenos.

Three years later, less than 3,000 people make use of micromobility programs aimed at helping poorer sections of the city, despite stringent requirements on companies to provide these options and programs to help raise awareness. At issue, experts said, is a patchwork of rules and regulations between municipalities that can be a logistical headache for riders, infrastructure that doesn’t offer much protection for scooter and bike riders in these areas and a public outreach campaign that has failed to gain traction.

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Photo by Victor Avdeev on Unsplash

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It may look like unassuming concrete at first glance, but the curb could be the most valuable piece of real estate in Los Angeles.

“There’s gold in those hills—we gotta monetize the curb!” is the general sentiment, according to Seleta Reynolds, general manager of the L.A. Department of Transportation. Reynolds joined other panelists at the Curbivore conference in Downtown L.A. on Friday to discuss the opportunities and challenges that curbside spaces present for businesses and municipalities alike.

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